A Democratic political action committee in California is blasting Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherDemocrat Harley Rouda advances in California House primary Lawyers to seek asylum for Assange in France: report Rohrabacher tells Yahoo he discussed pardon with Assange for proof Russia didn’t hack DNC email MORE (R-Calif.) over his ties to Russia with new parody ads and mailers.
Red to Blue California will run new digital ads starting Tuesday that announce a mock endorsement of Rohrabacher, a 30-year incumbent facing a tough reelection race, from Moscow.
The ads, which will run in both English and Russian, feature a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with a speech bubble that says “you’re a true Russian hero” to Rohrabacher.
ADVERTISEMENTThe six-figure campaign includes two digital ads that target swing voters in California’s 48th District. The buy also includes two mailers: one with photoshopped pictures of Putin and Rohrabacher standing side-by-side and another with a parody letter from Putin “enthusiastically endorsing” the congressman.
“While Congressman Rohrabacher has got away with his allegiances to Russia for decades, the stakes are much higher now,” said Andrew Feldman, Red to Blue California spokesman. “Ties to Russia matter when Russia tries to influence our elections. Our Democracy is at risk.”
Rohrabacher, one of the most pro-Russia members of Congress, has drawn criticism for those ties from Democrats and Republicans alike.
According to a New York Times report from last May, the FBI warned Rohrabacher in 2012 that Kremlin spies were trying to recruit him as an “agent of influence.”
And in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN’s Toobin warns McCabe is in ‘perilous condition’ with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill’s 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s probe into Moscow’s election interference, Richard Gates, a former campaign aide to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, pleaded guilty in February to lying about a 2013 meeting between Rohrabacher, former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortGOP votes to give Graham broad subpoena power in Obama-era probe Will the ‘law and order’ president pardon Roger Stone? Trump taps Lewandowski, Bossie for Commission on Presidential Scholars MORE and a lobbyist on Ukraine. A Rohrabacher spokesman confirmed in February that the meeting took place, saying it was a dinner between “two longtime acquaintances.”
In late August, Manafort was found guilty on eight felony charges involving bank loan fraud and tax evasion. Rohrabacher’s campaign said he will donate to charity $1,000 given to his campaign by Manafort during the 2014 cycle.
Rohrabacher’s campaign called the ad a “complete miss,” arguing that voters are more concerned about local issues.
“Sometimes partisans can’t see beyond their own obsessions. I’m sure this idea made the ad makers chuckle, but voters in the 48th district are more concerned about Harley Rouda’s extreme plan to pay Medicare benefits to illegal aliens at their expense,” said Rohrabacher campaign spokesman Dale Neugebauer.
“In our district, people worry about the impact of Sober Living Homes on their neighborhoods, the storage of spent fuel at the closed San Onofre nuclear power plant, and finding a healthcare solution that works for Americans with pre-existing conditions.”
The longtime incumbent faces Democratic businessman Harley Rouda in one of the most competitive California races of the cycle. Rohrabacher’s district is one of seven held by the GOP in the Golden State where Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE won in 2016.
Polls show a tight race between Rohrabacher and Rouda in an Orange County seat where there’s been a big demographic shift since the Republican first took office in 1989. The latest poll from The New York Times Upshot and Siena College on Monday found the two candidates tied at 45 percent.
Rohrabacher, the chairman for the House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, has rebuffed criticism over Russia, telling CNN in a June interview that he doesn’t believe it’ll impact his race.
“The Democrats are learning now there’s a big blowback to insulting the intelligence of the American people with this phony PR campaign that’s aimed at trying to prevent President Trump from assuming the rightful authority that was given to him by the voters,” Rohrabacher told CNN.
“And my people are patriotic, and they see this as an act that is undermining the very democratic institutions that have always given America the edge. When you lose an election, you lose the election. You let the other guy govern.”
–Updated at 11:13 a.m.
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